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Agile Approach: Scrum

Scrum at Auriga

Auriga can successfully follow the formal Agile methods in its projects. In particular, an Auriga team can comply with all characteristics of Scrum—one of the basic and most-known Agile methodologies. Several Auriga specialists are trained as ScrumMasters

Working on a Scrum project having a distributed team has its specifics. The engineering force provided by Auriga is located at an offshore location separately from the customer’s product specialists, what differs from the traditional set-up.. In such cases we use the following approach:

  • Project Roles. One of the customer representatives is assigned to the product owner role defining the scope and requirements, assigning requirements priorities, and approving all results. That person is augmented with a selected representative of the Auriga offshore team—often called the deputy product owner—that contributes to the owner’s work by assisting with preliminary estimation of the work pieces and indicating deficiencies in the product backlog definitions. The deputy product owner also typically plays the role of the ScrumMaster.
  • Sprint Artifacts. In accordance with the methodology, a sprint backlog is defined and the corresponding burndown chart is put under configuration control. Online access to it is provided both to the client and to the offshore team. Different tools starting from simple MS Excel, or defect management repositories, or specialized tools of customer choice are used to maintain the chart in the up-to-date state and provide shared access to it. The burndown chart is updated by the offshore team daily.
  • Daily Scrum Meetings. Typically, most of the daily meetings are performed inside the offshore team in the form of the face-to-face meeting with the customer representative not participating in them. The deputy product owner plays the product owner’s role during such meetings. The customer representative typically participates in scrums once a week by phone. The product owner may change this approach and request participation in any scrum meeting, although face-to-face conversations in the native language are more productive, thus product owner’s participation is typically limited to weekly calls. In addition to keeping the burndown chart up-to-date on the daily basis, the team also provides weekly summary reports to the product owner.
  • Sprint Planning and Review. The sprint planning session is performed only after the product owner and the representative of the offshore team have discussed the existing product backlog and eliminated all issues that could impact the efficiency of the planning session. During the planning session the team selects the backlog items for the sprint based on the priorities and effort estimates. This selection is approved by the product owner who actively participates in the session. It is recommended to perform the planning session in the form of the face-to-face meeting, especially for the first session in the project. A brief sprint retrospective, at which all team members reflect about the past sprint—the sprint review, is held as usual. Typically, it is followed by the planning session for the next sprint combined in the same visit.